Our Brand 

Dedicated and resilient. Empowering and supportive. Energetic and inspiring. This is the “personality” of PennWest California and the basis of our brand.

A brand is more than a logo or “school colors.” It is an expression of our University’s story — the story we tell about ourselves, and the one that others tell about us. We build our brand over time, earning our reputation by what we do and say.

We reinforce the University’s brand through consistent use of colors, symbols and messages that bring PennWest California’s personality to mind. To keep them relevant and appealing, the images and messages are refreshed periodically and older ones retired. 

Our Visual Identity

The elements of PennWest California’s visual identity introduced in 2019 are based on our institutional personality and developed with input from students, faculty, staff and alumni. Brand identity professionals from industry leader Carnegie Dartlet and our own PennWest California Creative Services team made this research the foundation of their work.

Although they reflect a modern sensibility, the logos and wordmarks in this guide proudly build on PennWest California’s past. They energize PennWest California’s visual identity while retaining our school colors, iconic clock tower and Vulcan athletics mascot.

Elements of California’s history are embedded in these designs:

  • On the clock tower, the time is always 6:52 p.m. – or 18:52, the year our school was founded.
  • Proportions within the University wordmark are 1 : 1.852, a unique variation on the “golden ratio” of visual design.
  • “Vulcans” dates to 1932, when California’s student newspaper sponsored a contest to select to select a nickname for the school.
  • The shape of Vulcan’s hammer appears inside the “C” in both Athletics wordmarks.

Through consistent use, these logos and wordmarks will become recognizable emblems of PennWest California.

Download logos and wordmarks for internal University use only. Assets for vendors, advertisers, printers or other service providers are available; contact the director of Creative Services (Ext. 4274 or creativeservices@calu.edu) for details

Our Personality

The first step in telling PennWest California’s story is understanding who we are. Brand research identified these key traits, which underlie our University’s messaging:

  • PennWest California is dedicated to academic excellence and proud of its past, present and future. Adaptable and resilient, we persevere to overcome challenges. Our practical mindset compels us to pursue new and better ways to serve students and graduate career-ready professionals.
  • PennWest California is empowering, instilling in students the confidence they need to realize their personal potential. We foster a collaborative culture, joining forces to reach common goals in an environment that is supportive, inclusive and caring.
  • PennWest California is inspiring. We are passionate about our mission of providing experiential education and transformative opportunities. Dynamic and energetic, our positive outlook motivates students to believe in their abilities to influence and achieve.

To distinguish our messages from those of other colleges and universities, keep these personality traits in mind when telling the PennWest California brand story.

Our Name

We are PennWest California – and although our name is long, we use it proudly. Spell out the full name on first reference wherever possible, especially in formal documents and publications intended primarily for those outside our campus community. Never use “.”

Our nickname is PennWest California. That’s two words, with two capital and two lowercase letters. This short name is acceptable on second and subsequent references in all but the most formal documents. And it’s almost always OK for informal documents meant to be read primarily by our students, faculty and staff.

PennWest California also is acceptable on second reference, providing the meaning is clear – we are NOT a West Coast institution. California may be used as shorthand too, providing there is no confusion with either the Golden State or California, Pa., the borough where our University is located.

Our Editorial Style

Online and in print, the Office of Communications and Marketing follows guidelines outlined in the most recent edition of the Associated Press Stylebook, with some exceptions. Review those exceptions in our PennWest California editorial stylebook.

Scholarly publications follow the relevant academic style guide.